Beginnings of seed germination
As in many cases, market trends have their origin in the United States.
The US active seed market is starting to play an increasingly important role, and experts estimate its value at USD 300 million for 2018 (usa.com/).
According to a study conducted in 2014 by Way Beter Snacks, as many as 17% of Americans are aware of foods based on activated seeds and its benefits. Currently, this trend is considered one of the most forward-looking segments in food production. It is based on seeds and nuts, which form the basis of the modern diet and are the most commonly used food raw materials.
It is no wonder that the activation of seeds and their impact on human health have been subjected to numerous scientific studies, the results of which are presented below.
What does seed activation mean?
Seed activation is the process of seed germination starting, which is placed at the right temperature and provides adequate humidity and lighting.
The germination process is interrupted before the seed shell breaks, but after biochemical changes occur, resulting in an increase in their nutritional value and an improvement in the digestibility for the human body.
The essential element distinguishing products with activated seeds are their much better nutritional properties compared to standard seeds and nuts.
To better illustrate these differences, below we describe in detail the course of the process itself and the phytochemical changes that occur during this process, as well as their impact on the nutritional values of seeds and nuts themselves.
The seed activation process is a naturally occurring process. It can be said that grains are one of the wonders of nature.
In their nucleus they store whole new plants waiting for their time. The beans are essentially made up of four parts:
- An embryo that is the seed of a new plant, mainly consisting of iron, zinc, magnesium and B, K and E vitamins
- Endosperm, which is a food reservoir for the newly emerging plant rich in starch and protein (glutein and gliadin)
- Aleuron layer (casing) protecting the center of the grain mechanically against water loss, and containing vitamin B and mineral salts
- Scales with a mainly protective function containing a lot of fiber, iron, calcium, vitamins and mineral salts.
Thanks to growth inhibitors, grain remains hibernated until the right conditions for growth appear.
When they occur, inhibitors are broken down by activating growth enzymes, which also begin to transform endosperm into simpler molecules that are more easily absorbed by the embryo that starts growing. Just as they become more easily absorbed by the embryo, they also become easily absorbed by the human digestive system.
The seed activation process also enriches them with many other nutritional values needed for young plant growth. The amount of vitamins, folic acid, fiber, amino acids, e.g. lysine, which is not found in normal seeds, and also belongs to the group of essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized in the human body and must be supplied with the diet, increases.
The same is true with another very lysine-like amino acid tryptophan. During activation, albumin and globulin levels of important proteins that form the basis of blood plasma also increase.
Activated seeds are also more neutral for people with intolerance to protein allergies, e.g. gluten or prolamine, which are broken down during the activation process. Activation of seeds also reduces their caloric content by breaking down starch and some proteins.
The elimination of phytic / phytic acid is also a very important phenomenon, which may hinder their absorption of some substances – especially iron and zinc.
In recent years, there has been a growing number of scientific studies conducted around the world on the beneficial properties of activated seeds.
Activated seeds reduce blood pressure, they can also be an important element of diabetic diet by lowering blood sugar, improving serum density, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
The consumption of activated seeds also reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, depression, aggression, fatigue, and increases the body’s resistance.
In addition, the activation process causes an increase in probiotics, bio availability of vitamins and minerals. All this makes activated seeds become real banks of nutritional value in comparison with traditional seeds.
Below is a list of selected English-language publications documenting these properties:
– SPROUTED BUCKWHEAT EXTRACT DECREASES BLOOD PRESSURE Phytotherapy Research, July 2009; 23(7):993
– SPROUTED BROWN RICE FIGHTS DIABETES Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, April 2008; 54(2):163
– CARDIOVASCULAR RISK REDUCED BY SPROUTED RICE Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2007; 51(6):519
– Epub 2007, Dec 20. BETTER HEALTH FOR NURSING MOTHERS, WITH
SPROUTED BROWN RICE European Journal of Nutrition, October 2007; 46(7):391
– Epub 2007 Sep 20. SPROUTED BUCKWHE AT PROTECTS AGAINST FATTY LIVER Phytomedicine, August 2007; 14(7
– Epub 2007 Jun 29. NUTRIENT CHANGES NOTED IN SPROUTED WHEAT Journal of
Agriculture and Food Chemistry, June 13, 2007; 55(12):4678
– Epub, 2007 May 12. SPROUTING RYE INCREASES AND PROTECTS FOLATE The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, December 13, 2006; 54(25):9522
– SPROUTED RICE REDUCES COMMON ALLERGENS Bioscience, Biotechnology, and
Biochemistry, October 2005; 69(10):1877
– OPTIMUM GERMINATION CONDITIONS FOR WHEAT International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, July 2001; 52(4):319
– SPROUTING SORGHUM ENHANCES TASTE AND NUTRITION International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, March 2001; 52(2):117
– SPROUTED MILLET IS HIGHER IN KEY NUTRIENTS Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, February 1994; 45(2):97
– DIGESTIBILITY CHANGES IN SPROUTED BARLEY Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, September 1989; 39(3):267
– NUTRITIONAL IMPROVEMENT OF CEREALS BY SPROUTING Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 1989; 28 (5):401
• Kariluoto S. Folates in rye: determination and enhancement by food processing. Academic
dissertation. University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2008. https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/20828/folatesi.pdf?sequence=2
• Ali H., Iqbal N., Shahzad A.N., Sarwar N., Ahmad S., Mehmood A. Seed priming improves irrigation water use efficiency, yield, and yield components of late sown wheat under limited water conditions. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry 37, 534-544, 2013.
• Di Girolamo G., Barbanti L. Treatment conditions and biochemical processes influencing seed priming effectiveness. Italian Journal of Agronomy 7(2), 178-188, 2012.
• Donkor O., Stojanovska L, Ginn P, i in. Germinated grains–Sources of bioactive compounds. Food Chemistry., 135, 950- 959, 2012.
• Kamithi, K.D., Wachira, F., Kibe, A.M. Effects of different priming methods and priming durations on enzyme activities in germinating chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). American Journal of Natural and Applied Sciences 1(1), A1- A9, 2016.
• Pająk P., Socha R., Gałkowska D., i in. Phenolic profile and antioxidant activity in selected seeds and sprouts. Food Chemistry 143, 300-306, 2014.
• Rajjou L., Duval M., Gallardo K., Catusse J., Bally J., Job C., Job D. Seed germination and vigor. Annual Review of Plant Biology 63, 507-533, 2012.
• Świeca M., Gawlik-Dziki U., Dziki D. i in. Kiełki brokułu jako źr.dło potencjalnie
bioprzyswajalnych antyoksydant.w. Bromat Chem Toksykol 45(3), 488-493, 2012.
• Donkor O., Stojanovska L, Ginn P., i in. Germinated grains–Sources of bioactive compounds. Food Chemistry 135, 950-959, 2012.
• Koyama M., Nakamura C., Nakamura K. Changes in phenols contents from buckwheat sprouts during growth stage. J Food Sci Technol 50(1), 86–93, 2013.
• Vollmannova A., Margitanova E., Toth T., Timoracka M., Urminska D., Bojnanska
T., Cicova I. Cultivar influence on total polyphenol and rutin contents and total antioxidant capacity in buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa seeds. Czech J. Food Sci. 31, 589 -595, 2013.
• Rossi A.S., Oliva M.E., Ferreira M.R. i in. Dietary chia seed induced changes in hepatic transcription factors and their target lipogenic and oxidative enzyme acitvities in dyslipidaemic insulin-resistant rats. Br J Nutr. 109, 1617–1627, 2013.
• Tongu. M., Elkoyunu R., Erbaş S., Karakurt Y. Changes in seed reserve composition during germination and initial seedling development of safflower (Carthamustinctorius L.). Turk J Biol 36, 107-112, 2012.
• Narina S.S., Hamama A., Bhardwaj H.L. Fatty acid compositionof flax sprouts. J Agric Sci. 5(4), 75-79, 2013.
• Aslani Z., Mirmiran P., Alipour B., i in. Lentil sprouts effect on serum lipids of overweight
and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Health Promot Perspect 5(3), 215-224, 2015.
• Gharachorloo M., Tarzi B.G., BahariniaM., Hemaci A.H. Antioxidant activity and phenolic content of germinated lentil (Lens culinaris). Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 6(30), 4562
• Afify A.M., El-Beltagi H.S., Abd El-Salam S.M., Omran A.A. Biochemical changes in phenols,
flavonoids, tannins, vitamin E, β-carotene and antioxidant activity during soaking of three white sorghum varieties. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed 2(3), 203-209, 2012.